G is for Gumshoe - Page 88/98

Dietz said, "Do you have a telephone book?"

Rochelle crossed to the bed table and opened the drawer. Dietz sat down on the edge of the king-size bed and turned to the yellow pages. I could tell he was dying for a cigarette. Actually, if I were a smoker, I'd have wanted one myself. It was the same bed where I'd caught my ex-husband with a lover during the Christmas holidays. What a jolly season that was…

Dietz looked at me. "How many big hotels?"

I thought about it briefly. "There are only three or four that might appeal to him," I said, and then to her, "Will he be registered under his real name?"

"I doubt it. When he's on the road, he tends to use one of his aliases. He favors Mark Darian or Darian Davidson, unless he's got a new one altogether, in which case I wouldn't know."

Dietz had flipped through the yellow pages to the hotel/motel listings.

"Hey, Dietz?"

He looked up at me.

"I'd try the Edgewater first," I said. "Maybe his showing up at the banquet last night was just a piece of dumb luck."

He stared for a moment until the logic sank in. Then he laughed. "That's good. I like that." He found the number and punched it in, his attention focusing as someone picked up on the other end. "May I speak to Charles Abbott in security? Yes, thanks. I'll hold." Dietz put a palm over the mouthpiece of the receiver and used the interval to fill Rochelle in on events to date. He interrupted himself abruptly. "Mr. Abbott? Robert Dietz. We talked to you yesterday about security on the banquet… Right. I'm sorry to bother you again, but I need a quick favor. I wonder if you can check to see if you have a guest registered there. The name is Mark Darian or Darian Davidson… possibly some variation. Same man. We believe he'll have his little boy with him. Sure…"

Apparently, Dietz was on hold again while Charles Abbott checked with the reservations desk. Dietz turned to Rochelle and took up the narrative where he'd left it. She didn't seem to have any trouble following. Watching her, I began to realize how strung-out she was, despite the poised facade. This was a woman who probably didn't eat when she was under stress, who lived on a steady diet of coffee and tranqs. I'd seen mothers like her before-usually pacing back and forth in a cage at the zoo. No appearance of domestication would ever undercut the savagery or the rage. Personally, I was happy I'd never laid a hand on her pup.

By the time Dietz caught her up, her expression was dark. "You have no idea how ruthless he is," she said. "Mark is very, very smart and he has all the uncanny intuitions of a psychopath. Have you ever dealt with one? It's almost like a form of mind reading…"

Dietz was on the verge of replying when Charles Abbott cut back in. Dietz said, "You do. That's right, the boy is five." He listened for a moment. "Thanks very much. Absolutely." He placed the receiver in the cradle with exaggerated care. "He's there with the kid. They're in one of the cottages out in back. Apparently, the two of them have just gone down to the pool to have a swim. I told Mr. Abbott there'd be no trouble."

She said, "Of course not."

"You want to call the police?"

"No, do you?"

From the look that passed between them, they understood each other exactly. She picked up a leather handbag from the bed and took out a little nickel-plated derringer. Two shots. I gave him a smirky look, but his expression was neutral. God, and he'd criticized my gun.

"What's your intention if we succeed in getting Eric back? You can't go home," he said to her.

"I have a rental car, which I'm dropping at the airport. My brother's a pilot and he'll pick us up at a charter place called Neptune Air. Mark and I used it once."

Dietz turned to me. "You know it?"

"More or less. It's this side of the airport on Rockpit Road."

He turned back to Rochelle. "What time's he flying in?"

"Nine, which should give us time enough, don't you think?"

"It should. What then?"

"I've got a place we can hole up for as long as we want."

Dietz nodded. "All right. It sounds good. Let's do it."

I held a ringer up, snagging Dietz's attention. I tilted my head toward the door. "Could I have a word with you?"

He flicked a look at me, but made no move, so I was forced to charge on.

I said, "I've got something I want to check out and I need some wheels. Why can't I take the rental car while you two take the Porsche? You know where Messinger is and you're on your way over. I don't see why I need to be there."